A Couple of Ways to Get the Best from Your Credit Cards This Christmas
By Stephen Morgan

“‘tis the Season to be jolly, with a Hey Nonny no” and much slapping of the thighs etc and all that humbug – I know this makes me sound like a cross between Dickens’s Scrooge and a grumpy old man but I have just finished wading through a whole raft of sales promotion material from a series of Credit Card Companies and it really does beggar belief at times.

OK so they are having hard time of it at the moment – no everything is relative, being unemployed and homeless is having a hard time, a downturn in the profitability of the Credit Card Companies is long overdue.

All of the false bonhomie and good cheer of the leaflets got me to thinking that they are really being disingenuous at best and two faced at worst. Basically the issue boils down to the fact that they are really now paranoid about the whole issue of Identity Theft and the knock on effect it will have on our welfare.

Not too sure about this. Yes Identity theft is not good and we could all do without being infected by this the latest in growth industries but what the Credit Card Companies are really worried about is being caught “holding the baby so to speak” and having the “cough up the money” when we realise how we have been ripped off and it wasn’t us that used the card in the first place, it was a representative from the local underworld trying to purchase a present online for Mum for Christmas!

This got me to thinking about real ways to look after your Plastic this Christmas and ways to ensure how they really work for you and not someone else.

First of all check on the fine print of your statements to ensure that small charges or worse, large charges aren’t able to be slipped in without you noticing “in lieu of” increased membership fees etc.

Secondly, unless you find yourself totally cash strapped and without any other means of funding the next few hours till the local Bank opens or you get home then do not ever use your Credit Card to withdraw cash.

These happy chaps will rob you blind as soon as look at you if you withdraw cash using your Credit Cards. Sky High interest rates here we come but you can also forfeit interest free periods and also suffer punitive withdrawal fees as well.

Thirdly, shop around for the best rates possible as these boys are going to be bringing in even more ridiculous rates soon mark my word. With Base rates rising, the Card suppliers are going to try and push their minimum APR to the region around 16% as soon as they think they can get away with it.

Their excuse? Well Central Bank rates are rising and here in the UK the base rate has just risen to 5% so they feel they have to respond. Well nice work if you can get it. Base Rate 5%, Credit Card Rates 16%, you go figure who is having hard time of it?

Stephen Morgan is an independent journalist writing on a number of issues, the majority concerning adverse financial situations and the resultant stress that they create. He is the principle Editor for Personal Bankruptcy and also has just launched the associate site Living with High Blood Pressure. More details about the above article can also be found at Debt Consolidation Services.

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